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Singapore - Natural Catastrophes

climate events, epidemics

Climate
Being near the equator, Singapore basically has the same season all-year round. Short, sharp bursts of heavy rain accompanied by a thunderstorm and lightning, occur about every second day. When the rainfall is particularly heavy or prolonged there may be some minor local flooding but this is rare.

Air Pollution 
Air quality in Singapore is generally very good. There are very high standards of controls for industrial and traffic pollution. Singapore however cannot have control over pollution levels in neighbouring countries. Because of forest fires in Indonesia there are often periods throughout the year when ‘the haze’ is a problem. At these times people with asthma, allergies etc should try to stay indoors. The excellent National Environment Authority website has more information and gives a daily PSI (pollutants standards index) reading.

National Environment Authority
Call centre Hotline: 1800 2255 632
Fax: + 65 6235 2611
Dial-a weather Hotline: + 65 6542 7788
Weather Fax-on-demand: + 65 6542 7789
Email: NEA@nea.gov.sg

Epidemics
SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
Along with China, Taiwan and Canada, Singapore has had a large number of SARS cases and many deaths. The Singapore government responded quickly to this public health threat and the situation is now under control with no new cases.

Singapore has a high standard of public health and environmental hygiene. But because of the SARS epidemic the government has increased measures to continually improve cleanliness in public places. They have started a ‘Singapore’s O.K.’ campaign which designates shops and restaurants etc that have passed new, tougher public health inspections.  For more information go to www.sars.gov.sg/

Dengue Fever
Singapore is free of malaria but dengue fever, another mosquito born disease, does occur here. Dengue fever is transmitted by mosquitoes which bite during the daytime. This is a viral disease with flu-like symptoms that include fever, sore throat, aching in the muscles and joints, an orbital headache (one behind the eyes), nausea, vomiting, and rash. The illness may last up to 10 days, but complete recovery can take two to four weeks. Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a relatively rare complication of dengue fever and is a severe illness that requires hospitalisation.

The Ministry of the Environment has a control program for this mosquito but outbreaks of dengue fever still occur and are often traced to construction sites. Don’t leave water to collect in containers like pot plants where mosquitoes could lay eggs. Use mosquito repellent if you are taking part in outdoor activities away from built up areas.